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LA, Ep. 19

February 14, 2013 — Literary Death Match kicked off 2013 in LA in grand fashion, with a colossal showcase of love, laughs, lit and wit at Busby's East that concluded with a LDM first-ever: three finalists. The result: Middle Men author Jim Gavin out-valentined Melissa Chadburn and Zarina Zabrisky by a human count of 21-18-11 to win the LDM LA, Ep. 19 championship. 

But before the finale was even a consideration, the night kicked off with an epic first round battle that pitted Gavin (a 2013 LA Times "Face to Watch") against Teddy Wayne (the award-winning author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine and Kapitoil). Gavin began, "Anyone would like to hear about my journey as an artist? No?" A great joke to preface his reading from Middle Men in which he talked about the time he kissed a cockless woman. Next up was Wayne, who decided not to read from his new novel, instead keeping the audience in titters with a short piece perfect for the occasion.

Next, the mic was handed over to the team of FOUR all-star judges (only the third time in world history LDM has featured a judging glut, and never before so wonderful). The four? Moshe Kasher (author of Kasher in the Rye and a LA Times 2013 "Face to Watch"); Sara Benincasa (author of Agorafabulous!, comedian and host of the Family Hour with Auntie Sarah at Nerdmelt); April Richardson (comedian, writer and Chelsea Lately producer); Kyle Kinane (comedian behind Death of a Party and Comedy Central Presents). 

About Wayne, Kasher said he looked "straight-up like a writer" and gave him points for that kind of archetype look. Richardson was tickled that Gavin used the phrase "cockless woman." Kinane addressed the audience as, "You pieces of shit" before saying there’s nothing sadder than old corduroy. Benincasa flung so many verbal gems at both readers, we're going to have to release this entire episode as a podcast (so subscribe to us on iTunes). After a tough deliberation, and many fights amongst the panel, it was Gavin who was announced as the night's first finalist. 

After a boozy intermission, Round 2 commenced with mayhem-maker Melissa Chadburn v. Zarina Zabrisky (author of Iron). Chadburn led off with a story that ended with orgasmic cries. Zabrisky was a bright light of wow, the way she performed a gorgeous story to music, in way-high heels, and shouted into the microphone while waving a fist in the air (and turning memorized pages without needing to look at them).

The judges again took center stage, divulging their level of impressed. Then they deliberated and they deliberated and kept deliberating. Finally they left it up to chance. Or is it fate? They flipped a coin. The coin was in the air, flipped and tossed. But then host Adrian Todd Zuniga intervened — saying that if a decision couldn't be made, let love reign/down with fate, and he announced both ladies worthy of finalism. 

And thus started the first-ever three-finalist LDM in history: Be My Literary Valentine! The rules: each finalist was asked to select between two author names, then Zuniga read off two details (example: Tom Wolfe: audience members come join Team X if you’re wearing a white hat, jacket or pants OR if you’ve ever thrown a dish at a former or current lover). As Zuniga offered up writer options, the finalists picked and audience members congregated until the stage was full and rowdy. With only one name left, and Gavin down by 6 (12 to Chadburn's 18 to Zabrisky's 11), he scored a homerun with Nora Ephron: if you’ve had an orgasm in public OR you've been married more than twice. More than seven audience members streamed onto the stage and Gavin was crowned champ. The LDM crown was his, and literary immortality to go with it! 

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Reader Comments (2)

Sara Benincasa AND Moshe Kasher in the SAME ROOM?! Talent overload. Well done, LA.

February 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Katz

Where's the "like" button for your comment, Deborah? Agreed!

February 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterLiterary Death Match

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